This is summer: gardens

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The Independent Online

This Sunday 6 July don't miss the second in our four-part summer series - a free gardens magazine.

Followed by:

July 13th - Travel

July 20th - Kids

One of summer’s great pleasures is the garden, whether your own or someone else’s. But great gardens don’t get that way by themselves... They require love and attention, so it’s worth putting in some hours while the weather is fine, and you will be rewarded with a haven for the long sunny days ahead (well, we hope).

The Independent on Sunday’s resident garden expert is Emma Townshend who “was a postgrad at Cambridge researching Victorian horticulture when I first got into gardening. I have a fairly small west London plot, so to compensate I like interfering in other people's”.

Between her weekly column in The New Review and blog , Emma discusses the four main features of British gardens – lawns, flowers, growing your own produce and decorative plants. She has something wise and witty to say about all of them, plus useful tips and kit.

Meanwhile, for those who don’t have the space, time or inclination to pull on the wellies and gloves, Christopher Hirst has chosen Britain’s most beautiful and imaginative gardens to visit. Among them you’ll find everything from ancient borders to modern sculptures, flamboyant colours to muted grasses. All worth packing a picnic and making a day of it.

To while away the twilight hours, keen gardeners will use their green fingers and thumbs to leaf through our selection of gardening books chosen by Katy Guest; meanwhile there are ideas aplenty in a wide-ranging list of websites for all things green – from where to buy bulbs to how to operate a wormery.

And it's time to throw away those splintery deckchairs and worn-through knee pads; just take a look at Sarah Harris’s shopping pages. Even the most thrifty gardener will want to splash out...

If you have missed any of the guides and would like to purchase a copy, please click here